Daily Archives: October 6, 2006


I took the opportunity of a day off to try out a different blog theme. One of the comments when I was blogreview’ed a few weeks ago was that my style wasn’t the most interesting, and wasn’t great for showing off photos. So, I’ve updated the header, and gone for a theme that differentiates me from Aidy and various others on WP.com. I like it – hopefully it looks a little cleaner, and it should be wider for displaying photos, too.

I’m thinking of making a few other tweaks yet (I’m not sure I like the title being separate from the image, for instance), but they will require me to pay for custom CSS, and I don’t have time to play right now.

Update: OK, so I went for the custom CSS route. New design with help from the CSS of the James Betelle blog. I’ll make a few more tweaks as I go.

Currie on WebSphere

Can I just take a moment to point my more technically-inclined readers to the weblog of one of my colleagues, David Currie – he’s posting some storming content right now on WebSphere Messaging, WAS 6.1, JMS clients… he’s a bit of a WAS and ESB guru, so if you have an interest in these topics, his blog is seriously worth reading!

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WebSphere Service Registry and Repository

Brown, Currie and Woolf have already blogged about this, but I wanted to add some comments of my own.

One of the key issues with SOA is how an organisation can make the most of the reuse potential. Some commentators are already pointing out that this is harder than it seems – we didn’t always get it right with OO, so how can we make it work at the higher level of technical and business services? One project team will want a slightly different flavour of service, or feel better if they wrote it themselves; and there are issues around SLAs when services are shared between multiple consumers. These discussions are at the heart of IBM’s focus on SOA Governance. Making SOA work does require planning, and a strong degree of buy-in across an organisation.

The new WebSphere Service Registry and Repository plays a central role in the swathe of SOA-related announcements this week. The product became generally available last week, and in my days off this week I’ve been installing and playing with it to get a hands-on feel for how it all works (how’s that for commitment!).

WSRR acts as the master repository for all metadata about services within an organisation. It has features to record different versions of service metadata. Developers can discover services at build time, and applications can find updated information about services at runtime. WSRR itself is deployed as an application into the WebSphere Application Server runtime.

Learn more: Introduction part 1, Introduction part 2, WSRR Infocenter

As a WebSphere Message Broker fan, I’m obviously particularly interested in the timely new Supportpac that provides support for WSRR. The SupportPac is category 1, which means that you will need to contact IBM to obtain it. The package provides a number of nodes and the corresponding Eclipse plugins to enable Message Broker applications to query the repository and receive event notifications. It also provides a runtime cache for the broker, which stores repository information. Once I’ve got it installed and worked with it a little more, I’ll report back.

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RISC OS goes Shared Source

History lesson. I grew up on Acorn computers. I started off with an Acorn Electron, which I took to pieces to solder in my own headphones and various other extensions. At school we used BBC Micros, and later BBC Masters, Acorn Archimedes and Risc PCs. I still own a Risc PC. At university, I wrote all my essays using Ovation Pro on an Acorn A4 laptop. 

A friend and I had a small business writing and selling educational software for RISC OS, the operating system that ran on the later Acorn machines. RISC OS was fast, easy to use, had drag-and-drop and antialiased fonts and all kinds of other features well ahead of the competition, and it owned the education market in the UK.

By the time I left university I was already used to Windows, Mac OS, UNIX and RISC OS… but I was kind of forced more deeply into Windows since I ended up porting UNIX code to Windows, and writing software installers for 3.11, NT4 and Windows 95 (and what fun that was…). Then I got into Linux. The point is, I haven’t touched RISC OS for about 10 years.

Acorn is no more, and the operating system passed on to two companies, Castle and RISCOS Ltd – who subsequently squabbled over how it should be developed further. I haven’t followed the story in detail. I’m aware that it is still out there, and machines have continued to be manufactured to run the operating system, but clearly it has been in decline – my old school switched over to PCs a good while back.

About a week ago, the companies involved announced a new shared source initiative around the operating system. It looks like the reaction has been mixed. I have to wonder how far this can take the operating system. Linux has a hard enough time winning share on the desktop from Windows, and I can’t see how this can make much difference either to development or to adoption. It’s a shame. Interesting to follow, but I moved on long ago.